The Null Device

2003/5/4

Everybody complains about copyright extension and expansion, but nobody does a thing about it. Until now, that is. The Creative Commons people have launched the Founders' Copyright, a project which allows copyright holders to voluntarily adopt Jeffersonian copyright terms (i.e., 14 years plus an optional 14 year extension):

Rather than adopting a standard U.S. copyright that will last in excess of 70 years after the author's lifetime, the Creative Commons and a contributor will enter into a contract to guarantee that the relevant creative work will enter the public domain after 14 years, unless the author chooses to extend for another 14. To re-create the functionality of a 14- or 28-year copyright, the contributor will sell the copyright to Creative Commons for $1.00, at which point Creative Commons will give the contributor an exclusive license to the work for 14 (or 28) years. During this period, Creative Commons will list all works under the Founders' Copyright, along with each projected public domain liberation date, in an online registry.

One of the early adopters of Founders' Copyright are technical publishers O'Reilly and Associates (i.e., the people behind those animal books).

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2003/5/3

Julie Burchill turns her guns on Madonna's latest album and image-change.

And this is the nub of my argument, the glitch in the seamless, shameless Madonna machine that just won't go away: for all her talk of discipline and dedication, has there ever been a professional singer, with two decades behind her, whose voice has shown not just no improvement, but a decline? Wouldn't the reputed four hours a day spent putting her ankles behind her head be better used practising her scales? And how much disrespect does this show to those who buy her records? Considering how little effort Madonna has put into the very thing she became famous for, her fabled knack for "reinvention" starts to look less like the clever cherry on the cake and more like desperate smoke-and-mirror decoys from her total lack of talent.

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From this year onward, May 1 is no longer May Day in the U.S.; it is Loyalty Day, when citizens demonstrate their loyalty to the State. You are a loyal citizen, aren't you?

(Maybe we'll soon see Loyalty Day military parades in Washington D.C. every May 1, with serried ranks of troops as far as the eye can see and trucks carrying cruise missiles, and so the U.S. will have taken one more step towards becoming the USSR.)

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A tutorial on doing realistic blood-splatter effects in Photoshop, a skill no-one should be without. (via MeFi)

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Some in the music industry estimate that 4 out of every 5 albums are produced using ProTools, often eschewing the expense of a traditional studio. (Not entirely, I'm sure, at least where vocals and acoustic instruments come into the equation.) This has lowered the barrier to entry into recorded music significantly, and consequently artists no longer need six-figure advances, or indeed major-label backing, to cut a record. Which is probably one reason why the major labels are running scared and pushing for end-to-end DRM (not so much to stop MP3 swapping as to kill off independent distribution channels and protect their dying oligopoly). (via Slashdot)

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